San Bernardino, CA – Bhagwant Singh, 45, of Hesperia recently pleaded no contest to felony payroll tax evasion in Victorville Superior Court. On Aug. 4, Singh entered a plea of “no contest” to the charge of Payroll Tax Evasion, a felony violation of Unemployment Insurance Code 2117.5.
According to Deputy District Attorney David W. Simon, who prosecuted the case, the plea was the culmination of an investigation and prosecution of Singh and his trucking and transportation companies “A&J Shipping” and “Los Angeles Express Trucking” of Fontana and Hesperia.
The investigation began after a number of complaints were received by the Labor Commissioner’s office alleging underpayment of wages by Singh to his employees. When it was discovered that Singh’s businesses did not have the proper Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage for their employees, the investigation was taken over by the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.
During the investigation, it was discovered that in addition to the allegations of underpaying workers and not having the required insurance coverage, Singh also failed to submit payroll records and deductions as required to the taxing authority–California’s “Employment Development Department” (EDD).
As a result of this criminal conviction, Singh was placed on formal Probation for a period of three years, ordered to make restitution to the EDD in the amount of $178,000, and other terms and conditions of probation.
“In this case, we were able to prevent law abiding taxpayers from having to absorb the potential costs should an employee associated with Singh’s companies ever file for unemployment benefits,” Deputy District Attorney Simon said.
Source: SB County DA’s Office